Windows 8 launch disappoints, Windows RT still a headache

Windows 8
Windows 8 is here, but without new news

The shame of the Windows 8 launch was that there was a lot of pizzazz and not an awful lot of news.

No big-name app announcements, nothing new demonstrated and no previously unheralded hardware for the assembled journalists to paw over.

I hate to say it, but in terms of the launch, it was more Vista than 7. More style than substance.

The lack of app announcements is nothing short of baffling. Where's Facebook, for example – a company, lest us not forget, that Microsoft owns a stake in. And what about Twitter? Or Spotify? Or countless others?

A corporation of this influence should have been able to rope some decent accomplices in.

We did have the Microsoft-owned Skype and New York Times, but these were announced before the Windows 8 launch event and were thought to be the prelude to something bigger. Microsoft should have done more here, primarily because it's doing the Windows Store (and Microsoft's self-styled 'reimagining' of Windows) a disservice.

We've seen some decent if not stunning apps so far from the likes of eBay, Wikipedia, the Telegraph, Sky News, Netflix and more, but this story needs to continue to get people enthused about Windows 8 – and decent apps will be far more powerful than a launch event in Times Square.

Windows RT still a headache

True, we did also have Microsoft Surface. But Windows RT remains a total mess – when I wrote a year ago that the lack of legacy app support on RT was the "elephant in the room for Windows 8" I thought Microsoft would have at least thought out a strategy by now for telling people about the lack of desktop app support.

Instead, it seems to be pinning its hopes on point-of-sale material and people seeking out more information about the device. The fact there is no Windows 8 Pro-toting Surface as yet only confuses matters.

As I wrote in September 2011 "We're all used to buying a Windows PC and sticking all and sundry on it. If people can't do this with an ARM-based Windows tablet but you can with an Intel-based Windows tablet, confusion will reign. So how will Microsoft tell people and help them to work out what's what?"

The simple fact is that it hasn't. Quite incredible for something which represents such a gamble for the corporation.

Surface's price is decent at £399/$US499/AUD$559 for the 32GB model. That compares favourably with the iPad. But people will still think they're getting full Windows 8 for that. Despite the RT branding, Windows RT and Windows 8 look the same on screen.

And Microsoft's insistence that it will tell people about Windows RT's lack of desktop capabilities at every point of purchase falls apart on its own Surface page about Windows RT. See anything here that makes things clear?

Windows is now a two-tier operating system – and there will be some very unhappy customers out there who buy Windows RT devices over the coming months. No wonder Apple is laughing.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.